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Question
Posted by: Andi | 2008/08/01

Manipulative/bullying husband

17 yrs married. I am on treatment for depression &  anxiety and receiving counselling for emotional issues. This has changed me from a withdrawn, self-conscious, self-effacing woman into someone who has learned to stand up for herself and make things happen. Except my husband can' t/won' t deal with it and says I' m not the woman he fell in love with and isn' t sure if he can invest emotionally in the relationship anymore. He likes things done his way in our home, even to insisting how the lounge furniture is positioned or what brand of food we shop for. He hates to be contradicted and sees my newfound confidence as a threat to his control in the home. He insisted that I have counselling (" because you need it" ) but won' t agree that we should go to counselling together. I am not perfect, but no human is and lately his comment to end any discussion is, " Oh of course, you' re right... you always are."  Please help - I' m afraid of losing my marriage and I have a 13 year old daughter who is at a very vulnerable age. He doesn' t understand her needs either.

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Our expert says:
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This is really something you need to discuss with your own counsellor, and put high on the agenda for those sessions. Sounds like you've been making significant and admirable progress within yourself --- but the therapist ought to also help you deal with the difficulties your husband might experience on suddenly finding himzself dealing with a more secure and assertive woman. Maybe some joint sessions, as he needs to consider --- does he really feel he can only commit to a relationship with an unhappy and ineffective woman, only to reject her when she becomes competent ? Don't let him get out of it on the phoney "I don't need counselling' argument --- if he experiences problems with how the counselling has affected you, invite him to join in for some sessions to discover what's going on, and to raise his concerns directly with the couinsellor. Not because he NEEDS any counselling himself, of course, but to fine tune what he may feel is going wrong within yours !

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